CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
When the Cleveland Browns return to action for a critical matchup with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, it appears they'll likely be without their leading receiver. As first reported by ESPN's Kimberley Martin, the Browns have placed tight end David Njoku on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Per Martin, Njoku's status for Cleveland's matchup with the Ravens remains "unclear." According to NFL rules, a player who is vaccinated for COVID-19 and tests positive is eligible to return after submitting two negative tests 24 hours apart, while unvaccinated players are subject to a minimum 10-day wait after testing positive.
Njoku's potential absence from the Browns' lineup this weekend could prove significant for a Cleveland passing attack that has struggled throughout the 2021 season. Through the Browns' first 12 games, Njoku has been one of the rare bright spots, tallying 27 receptions for team-highs of 407 yards and three touchdowns -- including a 20-yard touchdown catch in Cleveland's 16-10 loss to Baltimore in Week 12.
Selected out of Miami (Fla.) in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Njoku is currently in the final season of his five-year rookie contract.
In addition to Njoku, the Browns are also expected to be without second-year tight end Harrison Bryant, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Cleveland's loss to the Ravens. That leaves Austin Hooper and practice squad signee Miller Forristall as the only healthy tight end currently on the Browns, who run more three-tight end formations than any other team in the NFL.
Laying claim to a 6-6 record following its bye week, Cleveland's Week 14 rematch with Baltimore will go a long way toward determining the Browns' path to the playoffs.